The 8 most innovative technologies in renewable energy

Renewable energy technologies continue to make seriours strides.
Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji Bello
Solar power generation
Solar power generation

Roy Bury/WikiMedia 

Renewable energy technologies have come a long way in recent years, with new and innovative solutions constantly emerging. In this article, we'll look at eight of the most exciting and innovative renewable energy technologies that are changing how we generate and use energy.

Solar Power

Solar energy has gained popularity over the years due to its many benefits. The development of solar cell technology could be said to have begun when French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerellar first demonstrated the photovoltaic effect in 1839. The photovoltaic effect is the ability of a solar cell to convert sunlight into electricity. It's a clean, sustainable energy source, significantly reducing our carbon footprint. It also mitigates the effects of climate change. 

Solar power has played a significant role in our transition to renewable energy thus far, and there are no signs of it slowing down. Out of our 8 most innovative technologies, solar power takes 3 spots. Here are the innovative technologies in the solar power space. 

The 8 most innovative technologies in renewable energy
Utah Solar Station

Floating solar panels

The term "floating solar panels" refers to panels mounted on platforms that float on bodies of water such as lakes, reservoirs, or the ocean. The solar panels are mounted on platforms with an anchor reaching the bottom of the lake or sea bed. The electricity generated by the solar panels is then transmitted to the shore via underwater cables.

The concept of floating solar panels is not new. The first floating solar system was installed in 2007 in Aichi, Japan. Since then, the technology has gained significant traction due to its numerous benefits. 

One of the primary benefits of floating solar panels is that they take up less space on land, so, unlike traditional solar panels, they do not tend to disrupt the view. This is also particularly beneficial in more densely populated areas with scarce land.

Another benefit of water-based photovoltaics is reducing water evaporation from reservoirs. The motive is to have renewable energy and avoid wastage. So, this is a significant benefit. Water-cooled panels can be more efficient than traditional solar panels because cooler temperatures can increase their efficiency. Floating solar panels represent a promising technology that has the potential to increase the adoption of solar energy significantly.

Perovskite solar cells

Another innovative technology in solar power is the Perovskite solar cell. They are a type of solar cell that uses a material called perovskite, a mineral with a unique crystal structure. The solar cells were also discovered in 1839 and named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski. 

Perovskite solar cells have gained significant attention and popularity in recent years due to their potential for high efficiency and low cost compared to traditional silicon solar cells. One of the primary advantages of perovskite solar cells is their high efficiency. Perovskite thin-film solar cells have already achieved up to 25% efficiency and have the potential to go much higher — a giant leap considering they were only at around 3% efficiency in 2009. They are already comparable to or even higher than traditional silicon solar cells. 

Additionally, perovskite solar cells can be manufactured using simple and inexpensive processes, which could lead to lower production costs and broader adoption of solar energy. Perovskite solar cells are also lightweight and flexible, making them ideal for portable and wearable devices. They can also be made semi-transparent, using them in windows and other building materials.

Solar windows

Finally, we have solar windows. Imagine every window in your house was designed to supply you with electricity. The innovation of this idea gave homeowners an easy and effective way to provide themselves with energy. 

Solar windows integrate photovoltaic cells into the window's glass, which converts sunlight into electricity. The photovoltaic cells can be either transparent or semi-transparent, allowing sunlight to pass through while generating electricity.

Wind Power

Wind power is a form of renewable energy that has gained significant attention recently as a potential solution to our increasing energy demands. Unlike fossil fuels, wind power harnesses the eternal natural power of the wind to generate electricity without producing harmful emissions.

The 8 most innovative technologies in renewable energy
Power County Wind Farm

This innovative technology works by using wind turbines to convert the wind's kinetic energy into mechanical energy–which then is converted into electricity. Wind turbines consist of blades mounted on a rotor, which spins when the wind blows. The rotor is connected to a shaft connected to a generator that produces electricity. 

From our list of 8 most innovative technologies, 3 significant advancements come from wind power. They include; 

Vertical axis wind turbines

Unlike the traditional horizontal axis wind turbines used for several decades, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) have a unique design that allows them to capture wind energy from any direction. The blades of VAWTs are positioned vertically and rotate around a central axis, making them ideal for use in urban areas and other locations where wind direction is unpredictable.

The benefits of VAWTs continue beyond there. Because of their compact design, VAWTs can be installed in various settings, including residential homes and commercial buildings, making them a viable option for decentralized energy generation. Additionally, VAWTs are generally quieter than their horizontal axis counterparts, making them better for noise-sensitive environments.

The 8 most innovative technologies in renewable energy
Wind turbine

The most exciting thing about VAWTs is that they are still a relatively new technology, which means there is still much room for innovation and improvement. Researchers are exploring new materials and designs that could make VAWTs even more efficient and cost-effective, paving the way for a future where renewable energy is accessible to everyone.

Offshore wind turbines

Another innovation in the renewable energy space is offshore wind turbines. These turbines are located in bodies of water, such as oceans or large lakes, where consistent winds can be harnessed to generate electricity. Researchers recently found that large offshore turbines and power plant projects can reduce the average lifetime total cost per megawatt-hour by more than 23 percent relative to the average fixed-bottom offshore wind power plant.

One of the main advantages of offshore wind turbines is that they can take advantage of stronger, more consistent winds that blow near the shore. Additionally, offshore turbines can be located far enough out from shore to minimize visual and noise impacts on local human communities (although there may be environmental impacts).

The most important feature is that they also have the potential to generate a significant amount of energy. A single offshore turbine can produce enough electricity to power thousands of homes, and entire wind farms can generate enough energy to power entire cities.

Airborne wind energy

Another recent innovation is Airborne wind energy, a renewable energy technology that generates electricity using wind turbines mounted on flying devices. The technology exploits the stronger and more consistent winds found at higher altitudes, which traditional wind turbines cannot reach. AWE systems use airborne devices such as kites, drones, or blimps to capture wind energy at higher altitudes with stronger and more consistent winds.

One of the main advantages of AWE is that it can be deployed in locations where traditional wind turbines are not feasible, such as in areas with low wind speeds or limited land availability. This makes AWE a promising solution for decentralized energy generation, especially in remote or off-grid locations.

Another potential benefit of AWE is that it has a lower environmental impact than traditional wind turbines. Because AWE systems use less material and have a smaller footprint on the ground, they could reduce the impact on local ecosystems and wildlife.


Next up is hydropower, a form of renewable energy that generates electricity using the movement of water. It is a clean and efficient energy source that produces no greenhouse gasses or other pollutants. It can also be used to generate electricity on a large scale.

The 8 most innovative technologies in renewable energy
Hydropower plant

The process of generating electricity from hydropower involves capturing the energy of moving water and converting it into mechanical energy through a turbine. The turbine drives a generator, which produces electricity that can be used to power homes and businesses.

Hydropower is an innovation that has been around for decades, but it keeps evolving. Here are two of the most innovative technologies involving hydropower. 

Tidal energy

Tidal energy is a form of renewable energy generated by harnessing the power of ocean tides. It is a clean and predictable source of energy that can be used to generate electricity on a large scale. Generating electricity from tidal energy involves using turbines to capture the kinetic energy of moving water as it flows in and out with the tides. The world's first tidal power station was constructed in 2007 at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

The 8 most innovative technologies in renewable energy
SeaGen marine current turbine

There are two main types of tidal energy systems:

  • Tidal stream systems: These systems use underwater turbines similar to wind turbines. As water flows past the turbines, they rotate and generate electricity.
  • Tidal barrage systems: These systems use a barrage or dam to capture the movement of the tides. Water is held back by the barrage during high tide and then released through turbines to generate electricity during low tide.

Tidal energy has the potential to be a significant source of renewable energy, particularly in coastal regions with strong tidal currents. It would also improve the development of such areas commercially. 

Wave energy

Rounding us off is Wave energy. Wave energy is a renewable technology that generates electricity using the kinetic energy of ocean waves. The technology uses a buoy or other floating device that moves up and down with the motion of the waves, driving a generator that converts the energy into electricity. It is a clean and predictable source of energy that can be used to generate electricity on a large scale.


These innovative renewable energy technologies are just the beginning of what's possible in clean energy. With continued research and development, we can expect even more exciting advancements in the future. Investing in these technologies can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and build a more sustainable future.

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